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Former executive director of Smith Opera House passes away

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  • Staff Report 

The former executive director of the Smith Opera House has passed away.

Richard Erwin, 80, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, September 25th, according to family members.

Calling hours are taking place Friday from 3-7 p.m. at Palmisano-Mull Funeral Home LLC, 28 Genesee Street.

A mass of Christian burial will take place Saturday, October 1st at 10 a.m. It will be held at St. Francis de Sales Church on Exchange Street.

He served as executive director of the Smith from 1984 to 1994.

His passionate belief in the greatness of the historic theater and its unrealized value for the Finger Lakes region served as a spark in creating a vision of the venue as a preserved, restored, and revitalized regional treasure. Under Richard’s leadership, the Smith was designated a “Performing Arts Organization” by the New York State Council on the Arts, and received national attention after being recognized by the Smithsonian as a “Great American Movie Palace.” During his tenure, Richard was instrumental in obtaining over $1,000,000 in programming, development, preservation, and restoration grants for the Smith.